To the Editor:

I am writing this in reaction and response to the recent articles regarding the Gehring House ‘Cultural Island’ (NTL Institute) and NTL presence in Bethel. And, I first want to say that I applaud the letter written by my NTL colleague Jane Moosbruker, who clarified a few things last week.

To provide context, I was a full-time Bethel resident from 1985-2002, and part-time until 2021. I have been an NTL member for 30+ years and NTL faculty since the mid 1990s.

I have participated in NTL labs as a participant, staff trainer, dean of collaborative programs between NTL and Concordia University in Montreal, faculty with the NTL-American University Masters in Organization Development program, and have designed and delivered multiple projects within the Customized Services Group of NTL, which served organizations and multi-national corporations.

My business during the past 30 years has been in organizational/business consulting: strategic planning and change, building high-performing work teams and systems, executive/management leadership, and coaching.

While I respect the Bethel residents’ experiences and involvement with NTL noted in the earlier column, I think there is some further information to be added to what NTL actually was/is, which may not be known to local residents.


While many, possibly most, NTL staff are traditionally trained in behavioral science and psychology, this is not true for all. I am not, and many of the others are not. For me, I’m initially schooled in engineering and operations research. Much of my behavioral science and organization development learning came from my corporate experience, NTL training, and the Fielding Institute Ph.D. program in Organizational Systems.

My staff involvement and training with NTL didn’t include any of the examples mentioned in this column’s earlier notes regarding embarrassing or degrading behavior. Far from it… the NTL culture is all about respecting the individual. One of NTL’s stated values is “Social justice manifested through inclusion, equity, access, and opportunity for all people and the elimination of oppression”.

What was never mentioned in the earlier column was the work that NTL has done with multi-national corporations on challenges such as: managing large-scale systems change, leadership, strategic planning, executive coaching, etc. I was, and many others were, very involved in this work for several years. I could name many corporate clients, but it doesn’t seem necessary or appropriate.

So, I’m just adding another dimension to the history of NTL and hope that the community that reads this will understand that NTL is and has always been more than what was noted earlier.

John Shorb, BS, MS, PhD.



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